For a trio of Spring Lake High School hockey players, their first game as members of the Mona Shores Sailors hockey team was a forgettable one.
The Sailors surrendered seven unanswered first-period goals to visiting Grand Rapids Christian and suffered a mercy-rule-shortened 9-1 loss on Wednesday at Lakeshore Sports Centre.
The lopsided loss spoiled the debut of Spring Lake’s Nick Soto, C.J. Meyers and Connor Kippe. The trio took advantage of a new co-op agreement between Spring Lake and Mona Shores to play hockey for the Sailors.
Despite the loss, Meyers, a defenseman, said he’s thrilled to be a part of the storied Sailors’ hockey program.
“It’s nice to have a team to play with,” said Meyers, a sophomore who played with the Michigan Nationals travel hockey team out of Grand Rapids last winter. “Mona Shores is definitely a great school to have a co-op with. They have a lot of tradition.”
Meyers said he and his fellow Lakers were welcomed to the team with open arms.
“It’s not so much about schools,” he said. “It’s more that we’re the Sailors. We’re all one team, one family.”
The Sailors have a tremendous hockey history, reaching the state finals in 2004, 2007 and 2009. Mona Shores has claimed eight regional championships since 2000.
In order to enjoy that kind of success this winter, the Sailors will have to develop some chemistry after suffering crippling losses to graduation last year.
“We lost 11 guys, so we have quite a young team, with four freshmen,” said coach Patrick Rabbitt, who also coached the Spring Lake co-op team with Muskegon Catholic Central and Reeths-Puffer several years ago. “Last year, we had 17 returners, so that makes a big difference. These guys are still learning.”
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